Aricept (generic: donepezil) is a prescription medication used to treat Alzheimer's disease. Aricept belongs to a group of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. This medication works by stopping a specific enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is important in many brain functions, including memory, attention, reason, and language.
Aricept is a prescription medicine to treat mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's disease. Aricept can help with mental function and with doing daily tasks.
Aricept may cause the following serious side effects:
- slow heartbeat and fainting. This happens more often in people with heart problems. Call the doctor right away if the patient faints while taking Aricept.
- more stomach acid. This raises the chance of ulcers and bleeding, especially when taking Aricept 23 mg.
- worsening of lung problems in people with asthma or other lung disease.
- difficulty passing urine.
Call the doctor right away if the patient has:
- heartburn or stomach pain that is new or won't go away.
- nausea or vomiting, blood in the vomit, dark vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
- bowel movements or stools that look like black tar.
- new or worse asthma or breathing problems.
- difficulty passing urine.
The most common side effects of Aricept are:
- not sleeping well
- muscle cramps
- feeling tired
- not wanting to eat
These side effects may get better after the patient takes Aricept for a while. This is not a complete list of side effects with Aricept. For more information, ask the doctor or pharmacist.
Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you are taking:
- aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). If you take NSAIDs together with Aricept it may make it more likely you will develop stomach ulcers.
- drugs such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, dexamethasone, rifampin, and phenobarbital could decrease the effectiveness of Aricept.
- ipratropium bromide (Atrovent), oxitropium bromide (Oxivent), tiotropium (Spiriva), and Glycopyrrolate (Robinul) may be less effective if taken with Aricept
- Aricept may increase the effectivness of bethanecol
Do not take Aricept if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Aricept or to medicines that contain piperidines.
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Aricept there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Aricept.
It is not known if Aricept can be used in pregnancy or if it will harm an unborn baby. Aricept should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the unborn child.
It is not known whether Aricept is excreted into human breast milk or if it will harm a nursing child.
Aricept comes as a tablet and an orally disintegrating tablet (Aricept ODT) to be taken by mouth with or without food. It is usually taken once a day at bedtime. Aricept 23 mg tablets should be swallowed whole without the tablets being split, crushed or chewed. Aricept ODT melts on the tongue. After the ODT melts, drink some water.
- If you miss a dose of Aricept, just wait. Take the next dose at the usual time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.
- If Aricept is missed for 7 days or more, talk with the doctor before starting again.
If you have taken too much Aricept, call your doctor or local Poison Control Center right away.
Active ingredient: donepezil hydrochloride
- Aricept 5 mg and 10 mg film-coated tablets: lactose monohydrate, cornstarch, microcrystalline cellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, and magnesium stearate. The film coating contains talc, polyethylene glycol, hypromellose, and titanium dioxide. Additionally, the 10 mg tablet contains yellow iron oxide (synthetic) as a coloring agent.
- Aricept 23 mg film-coated tablets: ethylcellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate and methacrylic acid copolymer, Type C. The reddish color film coating includes ferric oxide, hypromellose 2910, polyethylene glycol 8000, talc and titanium dioxide.
- Aricept ODT 5 mg and 10 mg tablets: carrageenan, mannitol, colloidal silicon dioxide, and polyvinyl alcohol. The 10 mg tablet contains yellow iron oxide (synthetic) as a coloring agent.
Store Aricept at room temperature between 59° to 86°F (15° to 30°C).
Keep Aricept and all medicines out of the reach of children.
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